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Survey Shows STEM Faculty Remain Optimistic Despite Multiple Barriers to Online Teaching

Online Learning Organizations present new research brief and conference presentation on STEM faculty survey

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and Bay View Analytics today announce new research based on a national survey of 869 STEM faculty from October 2020 across all STEM disciplines and types of institutions. The research was conducted in partnership with Every Learner Everywhere, Carolina Distance Learning, DigitalEd, and with support from HHMI BioInteractive. All results are available on the Bay View Analytics' website, including the full report, research brief, and conference poster.

The survey found that 73% of respondents converted from face-to-face to remote learning for the Fall 2020 term, yet more than a third had no prior online experience. There were some significant differences in faculty perceptions of how the pandemic impacted access to education for underserved students, students with disabilities, and by race, ethnicity, or sex. Differences were noted between faculty by gender across institutions, as well as with faculty at primarily minority-serving institutions compared to non-minority serving institutions. The full details were presented on November 5, 2021, as a poster at the AAC&U Transforming STEM Higher Education Conference.

Bay View Analytics published a corresponding research brief on STEM faculty optimism for secondary STEM education. The results show that, while the majority of all respondents are optimistic, some subgroups—such as faculty at public 2-year institutions or those teaching one or more STEM courses online—are significantly more optimistic about the future of post-secondary STEM education overall and are also more optimistic about their personal role in higher education in the future.

"This is very interesting data as we continue to grapple with unique issues to STEM education during the pandemic," said Dr. Isabel Allen, Bay View Analytics' Senior Advisor. "The results raise important questions on equity for online STEM courses and the long-term impact of remote teaching on STEM faculty, courses, and laboratories. We hope to follow up on these and many other STEM research questions in the next year."

"More and more people are realizing what we at OLC have known for a long time: That quality online learning is the future," said Dr. Jennifer Mathes, CEO at OLC. "While the pandemic has posed a number of challenges, particularly in the area of STEM education, this study underscores the resilience and brilliance of today's educators to meet the needs of all students—particularly, those interested in STEM fields and those from underserved communities. The world has become more and more digitally connected and this work demonstrates OLC's commitment to DEI, recognizing education inequities, removing barriers, and advancing equity for all students while demonstrating that, with the right support and tools, digital learning can be just as engaging, rewarding, and effective as face-to-face instruction."

About Online Learning Consortium
The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is a collaborative community of education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner–anyone, anywhere, anytime. OLC inspires innovation and quality through an extensive set of resources, including, best-practice publications, quality benchmarking, leading-edge instruction, community-driven conferences, practitioner-based and empirical research, and expert guidance. The growing OLC community includes faculty members, administrators, trainers, instructional designers, and other learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies, and corporate enterprises. Visit onlinelearningconsortium.org for more information.

About Bay View Analytics 
Bay View Analytics is a statistical research firm focusing on survey design, implementation, and analysis. Formerly known as the Babson Survey Research Group, the scope of Bay View Analytics' consulting engagements includes scientific statistical analyses, clinical trial statistics, and survey designs for a range of topics, with a particular focus on online education. Bay View Analytics has been conducting research and publishing annual reports on the state of online education in U.S. higher education for eighteen years. Visit the Bay View Analytics website for more information or contact us at info@bayviewanalytics.com.

About Every Learner Everywhere (Every Learner):
Every Learner Everywhere (Every Learner) is a network of 12 partner organizations that collaborate with higher education institutions to improve student outcomes through innovative teaching strategies, including the adoption of adaptive digital learning tools. Evidence demonstrates active and adaptive learning has the potential to improve course outcomes and digital solutions lower the cost of course materials, particularly for Black, Latinx and Indigenous students, poverty-affected students, and first-generation students. Our network partners represent leaders and innovators in teaching and learning. We have specific expertise in the adoption, implementation, and measurement of digital learning tools as they are integrated into pedagogical practices.

About Carolina Distance Learning
Carolina Distance Learning® lab kits are designed specifically for college-level distance education. They provide the same rigor, relevance, and results that traditional labs provide, giving your online students a successful lab experience wherever they are. Carolina's Distance Learning Specialists develop all lab materials and kits—the team has more than 60 years of experience teaching and most hold graduate degrees in the sciences. For more information, visit www.carolinadistancelearning.com.

About DigitalEd
DigitalEd is an online learning company with a simple and resonant purpose—to shape the world through digital learning. Möbius is DigitalEd's platform for creating and deploying online STEM courses. Providing lessons, assessments and interactive learning activities, Möbius unfolds the potential for the STEM student to acquire knowledge at a guided yet self-defined pace. DigitalEd is based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Visit www.digitaled.com for details.

About HHMI BioInteractive
HHMI BioInteractive brings the power of real science stories into tens of thousands of high school and undergraduate life science classrooms. Providing resources ranging from classroom materials based on peer-reviewed science to educator support such as planning tools, resource playlists and professional development workshops. Learn more at www.biointeractive.org.

Media Contacts
Bay View Analytics
info@bayviewanalytics.com

Online Learning Consortium
news@onlinelearning-c.org
617-716-1414, ext. 329

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SOURCE Online Learning Consortium